Monthly Roundup – January 2020

I know I’m not alone in finding this month a challenge at times. There have also been highlights. On New Year’s Day I ran my first Parkrun and have since become somewhat addicted to these regular Saturday morning events. I attend with other family members and we are forever chasing personal bests over the 5km distance. I even became a Parkrun Tourist when my husband and I travelled to Belfast for a weekend.

This weekend spent in Belfast, where I was born and raised, enabled me to visit my parents on my mother’s 92nd birthday. It also served as a reminder of some ongoing, wider family issues. A silver lining was found in an unexpectedly free evening that I was able to spend in the company of good friends. Alongside the tourist activities enjoyed it ended up being a fine, short citybreak.

I managed to review a mere seven books in January as my reading time has been severely curtailed by other distractions and commitments. Of these books only one disappointed. Click on the cover below to learn more about the book and on the title to read my review.

Deliciously dark fiction

Wakenhyrst by Michelle Paver, published by Head of Zeus
Magnus by Mark Carew, published by Salt

Thrilling thrillers 

Black 13 by Adam Hamdy, published by Pan Macmillan
Gentlemen & Players by Joanne Harris, published by Black Swan

Fabulous translated fiction

Real Life by Adeline Dieudonné (translated by Roland Glasser), published by World Editions

More than simply a short story anthology

Splice 1 edited by Daniel Davis Wood, published by Splice

Non fiction, originally reviewed for Bookmunch

Not Working: Why We Have to Stop by Josh Cohen, published by Granta Books


I ended my literary event hiatus, writing about my reasons for this here. There will be a write-up of the event attended next week.

I also wrote a short post on my seven year blogging anniversary: Curbing the seven-year itch


Sourcing the books I read

As a new feature in these monthly roundups I thought readers may have some interest in the books I borrow, purchase and receive gratis. You can see why my TBR pile rarely shrinks no matter how many books I review.

One book – Wakenhyrst by Michelle Paver – was borrowed from my local library and has since been returned.

I bought five books in January – two second hand, three direct from publishers – of which two were gifts for others.

Seven review copies made it safely to my door from lovely publishers.


As ever I wish to thank all the publishers who send me their titles to review – the arrival of a book parcel remains a cheering event in my day.

My thanks also to those who share my words across their social media platforms. Your continuing support is always appreciated.


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